Lake Lanier (officially Lake Sidney Lanier) is a reservoir in the northern portion of the U.S. state of Georgia. It was created by the completion of Buford Dam on the Chattahoochee River in 1956, and is also fed by the waters of the Chestatee River. The lake encompasses or 59 square miles of water, and of shoreline at normal level, a "full summer pool" of above mean sea level. Named for American poet Sidney Lanier, it was built and is operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for flood control and water supplies. It is patrolled by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (GDNR), as well as local law enforcement. The states of Georgia, Alabama and Florida all have rights to the water of the reservoir, as it feeds rivers going through those areas. The Corps of Engineers has responsibilities to regulate flow for flood control and water use. In addition, it has to ensure that water is available to fulfill such federal mandates as under the Endangered Species Act, to support downstream species. The rapid suburbanization of the Atlanta region, in particular, has greatly increased water consumption by private homeowners for lawns and gardens. During droughts of the 21st century, Lake Lanier reached record lows, and regional actions have been needed to reduce area water usage.
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